The real healing came in psychosocial support sessions provided by Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) with UK Aid support.
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Seeing 27-year-old Shaher racing around a basketball court it’s hard to imagine that he only just escaped Syria with his life.
His wide smile and camaraderie with his wheelchair basketball team mates conceal a barely believable story.
Shaher was shot and dumped in a mass grave in his hometown of Daraa in southwestern Syria. Somehow, he managed signal for help – and narrowly avoided being buried alive.
Despite his lucky escape, his injuries were severe and left him paralysed.
He escaped to Jordan where, with physiotherapy, he learned to get around in a wheelchair.
But the real healing came in psychosocial support sessions provided by Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) with UK Aid support.
Shaher was able to talk about his experiences with other disabled people from Syria and Jordan – and share the burden of his psychological trauma and the stigma around disability.
Today, Shaher is seen as an inspiration to others.
He runs his own small business – a mobile phone shop – and dreams of expanding it in the future.
He also volunteers at a support group for other disabled people.
Among many people he’s helped is Raouf, a young man who was struggling to spend time with others because of his shame about being disabled.
He helped him overcome his fears and make new friends – and they play basketball together weekly.
It is a chance, they say, to be “normal”